Best English Speaking/Foreigner Friendly Salons in Kyoto (Updated October 2023)

Looking for the best haircut in Kyoto? Kyoto is an iconic city in Japan, full of deep history and wonderful sights, but it’s also a great spot to live as well. There are many amazing salons in the area, and being a travel spot Kyoto is quite foreigner friendly, so let’s look at a few recommendations that the locals love.

There are two kinds of people. The ones who can’t wait to see Tokyo when visiting Japan, and the ones who can’t wait to see Kyoto. While Tokyo is one of the biggest and most modern cities in the world, Kyoto is the perfect picture of traditional Japan.

Sightseeing in Kyoto

The famous gates behind Fushimi Inari Taisha.

Kyoto was originally the capital of Japan, and today is still considered the cultural capital. During the time of strong Imperial rule, the emperors lived and operated from Kyoto, so much of the wealth and power was in this city. You can see the remnants of this through grand castles, amazing palaces, and ethereal temples. While there are many old and well preserved spots in Kyoto, there are also many modern places like many of Japan’s cities. Nintendo’s headquarters is actually located in Kyoto. This balance of old in new is common in most Japanese cities, however due to wars, fires and natural disasters many of Japan’s cities were not able to preserve their priceless buildings and heritage sites. However Kyoto has been able to do exactly that and is not only a popular travel spot for foreigners, but for Japanese citizens too. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular travel destinations in Japan here in Kyoto.

The beautiful Kiyomizudera with a popular wooden terrace with a beautiful view of the nature around Kyoto.

Central Kyoto

First up is Nijo Castle, the residence built for the first Emperor of the Edo period in 1606. This popular castle has 3 tiers, each guarded by walls and gates leading to the castle, which can only be visited by a limited amount of people every day. The beautiful gardens throughout the castle, and rich history is enjoyed by many people every year.

You can also visit the Imperial palace grounds, where the current prince and princess stay at when they visit Kyoto. The palace grounds hold the imperial palace, as well as Sento Palace, originally build as the residence for the retired emperors. The well kept gardens here are also a popular spot, especially during spring to see the beautiful cherry blossoms.

Nijo Castle, where the 1st emperor of the Edo period lived.

Eastern Kyoto

First is one of the most common scenes used to describe Kyoto, the beautifully preserved historical town of Higashiyama. The well-kept old style Japanese houses line the streets, most now converted into shops and restaurants. Opening around 10 am and closing early around 6 pm, this quiet town is the quintessential image of old Japan, and is extremely popular among Japanese people.

There is also the beautiful Kiyomizudera and Ginkakuji temples. Kiyomizudera is known for its beautiful wooden terrace that you can walk out on to enjoy the view of the forested area around Kyoto. And Ginkakuji, although not actually covered in silver, is a beautiful temple with serene gardens and a rich history.

Higashiyama's old style streets during mid-day.

Northern Kyoto

The Northern area is home to the iconic golden temple, Kinkakuji. The upper half of this temple is completely covered in Gold leaf, and has been rebuilt many times, last time being in 1955 after a fanatic monk actually burnt down the temple himself.

The Northern part of Kyoto also has many small towns in the forest that give you a taste of the peaceful side of Japanese cities, two of the towns being Kibune and Kurama. Kibune is the first stop and home to a beautiful temple built for the god of rain and water. You can get a special fortune here that you can only read after dipping it in water. If you enjoy hiking, you can walk for about two hours and reach the next town Kurama, also home to a famous shrine, as well as hot springs and other hiking trails.

This famous golden temple, Kinkakuji.

Southern Kyoto

Finally we have southern Kyoto. If you know anyone who’s traveled to Japan, you’ve seen the pictures of your friends standing under the iconic “Japanese gate road”. The walking path lined with hundreds of Japanese style red gates has become one of the most famous images of Japan. The Senbontori road is a trail behind the famous Fushimi Inari shrine, and takes about 3 hours to walk round trip. If you’re in Kyoto you should definitely visit this iconic shrine, and make sure to get some nice photos to show off to your friends while enjoying the beautiful history, culture, and nature of Kyoto.

A shot of one the hiking trail behind the Fushimi Inari shrine.

Hair Salons in Kyoto

While Kyoto is full of rich history and heritage sites, Kyoto is just like any other city, and just like any other city there are a lot of salons to choose from. Japan has some of the best salons in the world due to it’s culture and focus around style, fashion, and customer service. Kyoto is no exception and is home to some of the best salons in Japan. Let’s look at eight of the most popular salons around Kyoto, and help you figure out where you’re going for you’re next cut!

hair arbore

Get Your Healthiest Hair

Our first salon is first on the list for a reason! We love the natural and all-around hard hitter ‘hair arbore’. A lot of salons really focus on super trendy and flashy styles, but arbore takes the health of your hair very seriously. They offer a wide variety of treatments that will leave your hair healthier than ever, and they’ll be able to give you tips for styling and maintaining your healthy hair. An awesome point about going to a salon that’s focused on your hair health is the shampooing time. The relaxing and wonderful massage is amazing, and during this time you can also add an array of headspa options like the “Scalp Cleansing Scalp Massage with Carbonated Spring and Moisture Care Mist.” It’s a mouth full, but I’m positive you’ll enjoy the experience, and be amazed with the results.

Amazing Service

Arbore means “big tree” in Latin, and here it symbolizes the desire to build strong and long-lasting relationships, just like how roots grow strong over the years. You’ll be able to see this between the customers and stylists here. This salon has carefully cultivated an amazing community here of all different kinds of people. This salon works on a strict reservation only service so that the customers are given the best service at all times. That means if you’re interested in coming here you should hop online and schedule an appointment asap! I’m sure you won’t be disappointed by choosing to come here.

francoise marceau

Modern Relaxing Salon

Downtown Kyoto is busy, so why not escape for a little bit when you head to the salon to relax and get a haircut. Located outside of the hustle and bustle, francoise marceau is a beautiful salon with a modern style and relaxing atmosphere. This salon’s strengths are in it’s environment it’s worked hard to create. With things to stimulate all your senses, the goal is to make sure everyone leaves more rested and balanced than before. While aesthetics are important, of course they aren’t everything. However you don’t need to worry about the skill level, the stylists here are extremely talented and you’re sure to leave with an amazing hair style as well. Give this one a shot!

Great Hair Care Options

Going along with the wonderful spa like atmosphere, there are a lot of head spa treatments here that can help you deal with many different hair problems such as dry scalp and aging hair. francoise marceau uses only the highest quality products and you’ll definitely be able to tell by how amazing your hair looks and feels after the treatments. Definitely give this spot a chance if you’re in the area!


Highest Level Coloring Techniques

Located in a building with a beautiful view of Yoshida mountain, this relaxing salon is full of talented stylists and is recognized by local women as one of the best salons in terms of techniques that you can find in Kyoto. This salon is especially popular for people looking for a color. With a well-known stylist here who teaches Color theory, you can be sure to get a color that takes into account your skin tone, eye color, and overall image.

Amazing Service

This salons works to combine comfort and beauty. The first thing we notice when entering a salon is the design and atmosphere of the interior, but also the exterior as well. This salon is simple and beautiful, and from the inside you can enjoy a great view featuring the nearby Yoshida Mountain. You’ll be able to escape from the city for a moment and just enjoy a relaxing time getting your new style. This all around salon is sure to satisfy any customer, so definitely give this one a try.

Be fine becs

Be fine becs is a well rounded salon, and it shows in the diverse range of customers that visit this stylish salon in Kyoto. One of the strengths of this salon is the specialized staff. With a consultation ahead of time, Be fine becs matches you with the perfect stylist to achieve your goal, so you always know you’re getting the best and most professional help. While all the stylists are well rounded, each person has their unique talent and abilities and Be fine becs likes to show this point off. This clean and modern salon is popular for a reason, so if you’re in the area and want to visit a salon, please try this one out!

The Salon’s Concept

The stylists and customers together create such a great community and atmosphere. The ideology here is that creating connections and bonds first not only helps the stylists understand what kind of style you’re looking for, but also it helps them be able to perform their best. Whether you’re a returning customer or a first timer, you’ll feel welcome in the warm cozy atmosphere of Be fine becs. If you’re interest make a reservation online asap and join the family here.


Healthy Hair Specialist

If you’ve lived in Japan for a while and visited hair salons, you’ve probably heard of how popular headspas are in Japan. While there are many types of headspas, the basic goal is generally to balance and keep your scalp healthy. This promotes healthy hair, and over a longer time than treating the actual hair itself. commune is especially well-known for their relaxing and effect headspa treatments. After you get a great cut you should give one of the many options a try and let the stress of the week melt away during your scalp treatment.

Paying Attention to the Important Details

This salon utilizes a variety of difficult techniques to make sure that you’re hair comes out looking flawless. Particularly this salon likes to use many dry cutting techniques which has a lot of benefits, including making sure you’re hair is easily style-able as your hair is already dried and sitting naturally during the cutting process. They are also very careful during coloring to maintain a healthy scalp by minimizing irritation from the products being directly applied to the scalp. I’m sure you’ll feel the combined benefit of all of the attention to the small details here.


Sleek, Modern, High-Quality

This salon is extremely professional and you can feel that once you see the ultra sleek and modern design throughout albasanz. This salon is great at cutting and color design, and is also known for the hair-care and treatments provided here. Many customers come here for a cut and color first, and after choose from the 336 combinations of hair treatments to try and deal with their needs. Surely every individual can find the best combination to suit their condition and improve the overall quality and condition of their hair. If you like a professional salon you can trust to do a great job, look no further.

Coloring Kings

If you’re looking to get your hair colored, we can’t recommend albasanz more. The owner here is a certified coloring expert and often gives lectures at styling events on different techniques and products. Just this fact gives people a lot of trust in the salon, but of course the most important thing are the customer reviews. This salon is highly praised by the customer base, as well as locals who’ve only heard of the great points of albasanz from the community. Definitely be the next person who’s on the coloring train here, and make your appointment soon online!


Great Taste

Relio-nid has a soft and welcoming atmosphere. With a slightly cuter aesthetic and and easy-going staff, this is a great choice for those who feel intimidated by more stark and modern looking salons. This salons strengths come from the stylists extensive knowledge and experience. The stylists only recommend what they think is best for the customers, nothing more and nothing less. If you want a cut that will take into account your facial structure, lifestyle and over all vibe this is the right choice for you!